Tag Archives: writing classes for kids

Holiday Gift Guide for Writers

 The Holiday Gift Guide for the Writer in Your Life

With fall already in full swing, the holidays are right around the corner bringing with them the promise of cooler temps, mistletoe, carols and a holiday pastime you could do without…shopping.  There’s nothing like the jam-packed parking lots and bargain shoppers fighting over the last item on the shelf to get you feeling the joy of the season.  Then add in the fact that you have to give that special writer in your life something to show them just how much they mean to you, and the process doesn’t become any easier.  However, with this list of holiday gift suggestions you are sure to wow your writer and earn the reputation of the best holiday gift-giver ever. 

Give a journal or notebook.  Even though most writers in today’s age prefer to write on a computer, writers are always coming up with ideas so a journal or notebook to jot down their inspiration would still be a great gift option.  Pick one that is small and something that they can easily carry with them on the go.  Of course, this doesn’t mean to go to Target and just grab your standard black and white composition book—make this gift special by choosing one that is unique.  Give a legendary Moleskine journal and if you want to do something that shows just how much thought you put into it…get the recipient’s initials put on the front.  {Editor’s Note: Some swear by Moleskine, I prefer Black n’ Red for rough drafts and notes on ongoing projects. I also love those cheapy hardcover spirals you can find at the dollar store or Michael’s for daily journaling, inspiration and collecting quotes and musings}

Give music.  When in the writing zone, a lot of people like to listen to some good tunes.  So when considering holiday presents, think about adding music to the list.  Depending on their taste and musical preference, you can choose something that will really inspire.  You can go with a cd, an album purchased on iTunes or even an iTunes gift card. {Editor’s note: Another fun and FREE idea is to create a personalized Radio Station on Pandora, then send the link to your writing friend!}

Give a special pen.  Again, computers may be the most popular writing method, but a nice pen makes a nice gift.  Writing using a keyboard is faster but many writers will agree that writing with a pen and paper can make their work all the more enjoyable and fun…allowing them to stop and savor the feeling of writing, inspiring new work.

Give a good book. Often if someone is deeply involved in writing, they are also deeply involved in books and a new read would make for a wonderful present.  There are so many options with this idea…you can purchase a book for pleasure, to inspire, to give a writer a break from his or her own work to study the literature of others, and even a book about writing is great too.  Find out their favorite genre or author and choose a book that is sure to impress.  {Editor’s Note: I have my favorite writing books, such as Page After Page (Sellers) and How to Write the Breakout Novel (Maas), but on my wish list this year are: The Writer’s Workout, Christina Katz and The Marshall Plan of Novel Writing, Evan Marshall}

Give a writing class.  This is the writer’s gift that will keep on giving.  Take to the internet to search for available writing courses.  Most cities offer such classes at local colleges, but your best bet may be to find an online course.  This makes for an untraditional gift that can really help a writer to hone their craft and brush up on details like grammar, punctuation, composition and descriptive writing skills.  {Editor’s Note: If you have a young writer that lives in the Chicagoland area, consider giving a gift card for my Summer Studio Workshop; if you have a writer who longs to teach or a teacher who longs to write, I have an Amazing online course starting in 2012! Email me for details and an early bird discount! Mjcwriter at Comcast dot net}

Give a digital voice recorder.  A recorder will be the perfect addition to any writer’s toolkit.  One especially great thing about this idea is that it won’t break the bank (Olympus makes a recorder for less than $60!).  When you have an idea that just pops into your mind and you have nothing to write on or are on the go, what’s a better solution?

Give a lap desk.  Working at a desk can get old and to really get the ideas and creative juices flowing, a change of scenery is a must—therefore, so is a lap desk.  Ideal for writing and curling up in bed and basically anywhere in the home, this handy and flexible alternative to a regular desk will be greatly appreciated by your writer.

Guest Post by: Cindy McDonald, author of this guest post is also a writer for Best Christian Dating Sites where she covers topics centered on online Christian dating.

Want more Holiday Gift Ideas for your writer? Sign up for my Email List and I’ll send you my Top Fav’s 🙂


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Young Writers Workshop: Jump In!

     FRoG (Friends of the Gifted & Talented) has opened registration for Super Saturdays!

Young Writers (grades 3-8):  Come out to ONeill Middle School in Downers Grove, IL to learn and write with an award-wining author – Me!

Workshops are filling fast – REGISTER TODAY!!


Writing Workshop I  Grades: 3-8,  50 min classes: 10 am

Five weeks: Jan 29-Feb 26, 2011 $45

Do you love making up stories? Learn how to bring out the stories within you in this exciting class. Improve your writing skills by using the same process and style strategies used by professional writers to bring your creative ideas to life. Through reading and working together with other students, your inner author will emerge! This is also a perfect opportunity to prepare for the PTA’s Reflections program.


Writing Workshop II  Grades: 4-8, 50 min classes: 11 am

Five weeks: Jan 29-Feb 26, 2011 $45

Are you ready to take your writing to the next level? Young writers will learn advanced techniques to improve their craft: how and when to use symbolism, subplots, transitions, figurative language and more.  We will learn how to give and receive constructive criticism in a workshop setting. Come prepared with a first draft of a short story or several chapters of a novel-in-progress and we’ll help you make it shine!  This is the class you need if publication is your goal.

Prerequisite: Writing Workshop I or Writing Sample submitted to Instructor


“Thank you for being a great teacher to Grace. Her love of writing has grown because of you!” ~ Katie, Downers Grove Parent

“Mariah had such a great time learning from a pro.” ~ Reyna, Downers Grove Parent

“Thank you for all your help! I couldn’t have gotten this far without you!” ~Melissa, 8th Grade Student

“Garrett wishes your class was everyday, now that’s exciting!!!” ~ Shari, Downers Grove Parent of two writing students

“Yemi and her mother have nothing but great things to say about your workshops. ” ~ Reyna, Bolingbrook Parent

“You’re like the Dear Abby of Writing! U Rock!” ~Kate, 7th Grade student

“Every time I would pick up Jay after the workshop he was almost hysterical.  If you know my son, he is very composed most of the time.  But he would drop all his inhibitions and brainstorm through the workshop.  He really ENJOYED the writing classes with you.  The classes prompted him to take his journal with him while travelling rather than a hand held video game.” ~ Rupa, Downers Grove Parent

“Thanks again for including Anika – she had a blast. ” ~ Newenka, Darien Parent

 “Allison was very excited about writing the whole week.  Your “what if…” exercise gave her a fun way to think about things to write about (at home, for fun, when she only has 15 mins or so to do some writing).” ~Betsy, Downers Grove Parent

 “YOU ARE THE BEST! Never before have I had such a fabulous writing teacher. I want to write books that get published and turned into movies, like my uncle’s. I want to do this for my passion and my future fame. You rock Mary Jo!” ~ Katie, 5th grade student

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